Document Detail

Pain inhibition and postexertional malaise in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: an experimental study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20412374     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: To examine the efficacy of the pain inhibitory systems in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) during two different types of exercise and to examine whether the (mal)functioning of pain inhibitory systems is associated with symptom increases following exercise. DESIGN: A controlled experimental study. SETTING AND SUBJECTS: Twenty-two women with ME/CFS and 22 healthy sedentary controls were studied at the Department of Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. INTERVENTIONS: All subjects performed a submaximal exercise test and a self-paced, physiologically limited exercise test on a cycle ergometer. The exercise tests were undertaken with continuous cardiorespiratory monitoring. Before and after the exercise bouts, subjects filled out questionnaires to assess health status, and underwent pressure pain threshold measurements. Throughout the study, subjects' activity levels were assessed using accelerometry. RESULTS: In patients with ME/CFS, pain thresholds decreased following both types of exercise, whereas they increased in healthy subjects. This was accompanied by a worsening of the ME/CFS symptom complex post-exercise. Decreased pressure thresholds during submaximal exercise were associated with postexertional fatigue in the ME/CFS group (r = 0.454; P = 0.034). CONCLUSIONS: These observations indicate the presence of abnormal central pain processing during exercise in patients with ME/CFS and demonstrate that both submaximal exercise and self-paced, physiologically limited exercise trigger postexertional malaise in these patients. Further study is required to identify specific modes and intensity of exercise that can be performed in people with ME/CFS without exacerbating symptoms.
J Van Oosterwijck; J Nijs; M Meeus; I Lefever; L Huybrechts; L Lambrecht; L Paul
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-03-03
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of internal medicine     Volume:  268     ISSN:  1365-2796     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Intern. Med.     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-10     Completed Date:  2010-09-13     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8904841     Medline TA:  J Intern Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  265-78     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education & Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
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MeSH Terms
Exercise / physiology*
Exercise Test / methods
Exercise Tolerance / physiology
Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology,  psychology*
Middle Aged
Motor Activity / physiology*
Pain Threshold / physiology*
Physical Stimulation / methods
Young Adult
Comment In:
J Intern Med. 2010 Sep;268(3):249-51   [PMID:  20695975 ]

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